As the weather cools, many experts predict Covid-19 cases will begin to rise — and as the pandemic continues, we are still investigating the government’s response to it.

For #FOIAFriday, we’re highlighting our Covid-19 Oversight Hub and what we’ve uncovered so far.
First, the Covid-19 outbreak at the White House. Earlier this month, President Trump tested positive for Covid-19. After 3 days at Walter Reed, Trump — still contagious— returned to the White House, where lax safety measures had recently led to an outbreak.
Questions remain about that outbreak, from how it began to how the administration is tracing those infected, and about how forthcoming the government has been about the president’s condition and when he first contracted the virus.
We’ve filed FOIA requests for info about the procedures in place to protect the health of the president, Secret Service officers, and other federal employees while the president recovers.…
Next, Covid relief funds & loans. Congress has allocated trillions of dollars in assistance and loans to support Americans during the pandemic. Billions have gone to companies with histories of misconduct and/or that have laid off workers as they got taxpayer dollars.
We’ve filed requests with the SBA, OMB & HHS seeking information about how relief packages are being implemented. We’ve also FOIA’d multiple agencies for communications with the White House and Congress related to emergency relief funding.
And we’re investigating the banking industry’s influence by seeking records of meetings between Wall Street executives and relevant administration officials.…
Third, the rush for a Covid-19 vaccine. A hurried timeline, nakedly political motivations, public disagreements, and lack of transparency are eroding public trust in a prospective coronavirus vaccine.
We’re investigating the key players & influences involved. We’ve filed multiple requests for agency and White House communications about coronavirus vaccines, contracts with leading vaccine developers, and distribution plans.…
Finally, political interference at USPS. As the pandemic forces more Americans to rely on absentee voting to participate in our democracy, President Trump’s attacks on the U.S. Postal Service represent a danger not just to low-cost mail delivery, but to voting rights as well.
We’ve been investigating how the pandemic has impacted USPS, and whether and to what extent the White House is interfering in the agency’s operations or undermining trust in absentee voting.
Last month, the Washington Post reported on nearly 10,000 pages of USPS documents we obtained. The documents revealed a scrapped plan to send masks to every American.
You can follow along with all of our and other’s coronavirus-related investigations at our Covid-19 Oversight Hub—a resource dedicated to tracking government and watchdog inquiries into the coronavirus response.…
And for weekly updates on the latest developments in Covid-19 Oversight, sign up for our newsletter:

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More from @weareoversight

16 Oct
New: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s rush to release Hillary Clinton’s emails before Election Day appears to violate the Hatch Act. Career State employees may be at risk.

We called for an immediate investigation into Pompeo’s rush to release the emails.…
We asked the State Dept. Inspector General and the Office of Special Counsel to investigate if Secretary Mike Pompeo has ordered any State employees to take actions that violate the Hatch Act.
On October 8, President Trump publicly criticized Pompeo for not ensuring that Hillary Clinton’s emails were released. The next day, Pompeo said that State would work to release more info from the emails “before the election,” strongly suggesting his intent to sway voters.
Read 5 tweets
15 Oct
The Trump administration has made it harder for people fleeing violence and persecution to obtain asylum in the United States.

We obtained new documents showing an early version of the controversial Migrant Protection Protocols policy.…
Under MPP, which DHS announced in January 2019 and the Supreme Court ruled could continue in March 2020, asylum-seekers are forced to wait in Mexico while their cases proceed, forcing them to stay in dangerous locations, with limited access to attorneys & case info.
In a February 2017 presentation from the “U.S. Customs and Border Protections Migration Crisis Action Team,” a slide showed that CBP was planning to develop guidance for implementation of 235 (b)(2)(c).
Read 7 tweets
14 Oct
New: We are suing Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger and other state officials for failing to respond to dozens of open records requests related to voting rights and this election.…
Although early voting only just began this week, reports are already describing hours of waiting in line and issues with poll pad check-in computers. These follow the disastrous delays that plagued the June 2020 primary election.
In the last year, we made public records requests to Raffensberger’s office for emails related to the Absentee Ballot Task Force, communications with organizations that have a history of voter suppression efforts, records related to complications w/ the primary elections & more.
Read 5 tweets
14 Oct
New: Two sets of documents we obtained show federal agencies approved and/or were aware of President Trump’s tweets prior to him publishing them.

The records provide a unique look into the workings of the president’s Twitter account.
The first set shows DHS officials approved a tweet sent from President Trump’s personal Twitter account regarding the so-called migrant caravan on April 30, 2018.…
In an email titled “Urgent: [redacted],” an executive secretary at DHS requested “clearance ASAP, since White House deadline is 1:45 pm.”

That email was then forwarded to a group that included Stephen Miller, Chad Wolf, and others.
Read 11 tweets
13 Oct
On April 7, Wisconsin held primary elections as the state was under pandemic lockdowns.

Wisconsin required voters with absentee ballots to include a copy of a photo ID and for the absentee ballots themselves to be signed by a witness.
On March 31, Assistant Majority Leader Mary Felzkowski sent a constituent an email that showed the problems with the witness requirement: “I have heard a lot of creative solutions here. If you have someone willing to come over, you can sign it on one side of a window or door….
"and then put the ballot on through the door or window, and have the witness sign with their own pen. If someone doesn't have a person in their life that can come over, please let me know and we can maybe help find someone to witness.”
Read 4 tweets
9 Oct
The Trump administration separated children from parents as a deliberately cruel measure to attempt to deter future migrants.

For #FOIAFriday, we’re highlighting our extensive timeline of the administration’s communications about family separation.…
In particular, we’re drawing attention to the role of former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. While Nielsen has tried to distance herself from the policy, documents we uncovered through FOIA show her involvement.
On March 3, 2017, Reuters reported that the administration was considering a family-separation proposal. An unidentified person emailed the story to the DHS budget director: “I would be truly grateful if you could tell me this isn’t being seriously considered.”
Read 14 tweets

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